VILLAGE – BELARBAHRA ON WAY TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY : Success Story : The forest villages were set up in remote and inaccessible forest areas of some States with a view to providing uninterrupted manpower for forestry operations before independence. Such forest villages were converted into revenue villages by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1990 after de-notification of requisite forest land. The State Governments submitted proposals for conversion of such villages into revenue villages for approval to the centre. Now the revenue villages fall within the jurisdiction of the revenue authorities of the respective State/Union Territory Governments whereas administration of forest villages rests with State Forest Department. On conversion of forest villages into revenue villages, the villagers are conferred heritable but inalienable rights over the land.
This is a story of Belarbahra revenue village in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh which has achieved self sufficiency after joining joint Forest Management programme. This revenue village of Sankra Range is situated below Sondhur dam, 23 Kms away from the Range Head Quarter. With the Forest Management Committee, the village has developed the economic resources of Belarbahra in order to reduce organic (human & animal) pressure on the adjacent forest area. The village has 130 hactre of cultivable cropland.
The villagers of Belarbahra used to collect honey from the forests by traditional methods. Most of the bees used to die away due to collection of honey by old methods. The production of honey was also smaller. The forest Management Committee has now given it a new dimension. The Forest Department has given them (honey collectors) training in sustainable exploitation of honey. (from the beehives) besides modern clothings and tools for protected collection of honey from the beehives. The Department has also provided them training in beekeeping. Now they are engaged in bee-keeping of Satporia Bees in 50 boxes inside the forests of Belarbahra
Last year the members of the Committee collected 05 quintals of honey. This has increased their income by Rs.30,000/-.
The Forest Department has made communication easy for people. They have upgraded the road from Arjun to Belarbahra and from BelarBahra to Sondhur river and made it communication worthy throughout the year. Formerly it was very difficult to move on foot during rainy season.
The Forest Management Committee has made irrigation available to farmers as a first step to development of agriculture. They have deepened the dau tank located outside the village. Water used to flow down the reservoir of the stop dam built below Risai Jharna Hills and fill in the tank. The stop dam whose reservoir area was converted into cropland and crops of paddy has been activated to its full capacity. The water or Risai Jharna hills is now directly channelised and stored in Dau Tank by a one km. long canal. The fields below are irrigated by this tank water fitted with sluice gates. 150 acres of paddy crops below the tank is irrigated by the water stored in this huge and deep tank.
Development of Agricultural Resources
Built up structures
No. of Farmers
Agricultural Land (in Acres)
Irrigated Area Before (in Acres)
Nil-Rain fed Agriculture
Present irrigated Area (in Acres)
Increase in the irrigated Area
Production of Paddy before irrigation
Present Average Production
Increase in Production